Norman Walsh: Greatly respected figure in beekeeping circles
NORMAN Walsh was the go-to person for anyone exploring the art of beekeeping in Northern Ireland.
The Co Down man had 60 years of experience with apiaries, and was always happy to share his deep well of knowledge with those in need of advice.
"Obviously these bees have not read the bee books," he would say with a smile when novices would explain their problem.
His interest in beekeeping began as a student at Greenmount Agricultural College and quickly developed alongside a busy working life, where he rose to become managing director of an animal feeds company and president of the NI Grain Trade.
Norman kept up to 24 colonies at any one time, with around 50,000 bees in each.
He was interested in queen rearing, in particular promoting the importance of the native black Irish honey bee, as well as producing different types of honey.
In summer he took some of his hives to the Mourne Mountains so the bees would forage nectar to produce heather honey.
Over the years Norman kept bees in Hillsborough, Sixmilecross, Omagh, Dromore and Lisburn.
After completing all the beekeeping exams, he taught courses at Dromore High School and travelled across Britain and Europe to lecture about beekeeping as well as acting as head judge in competitions.
Norman won the world cup at the National Honey Show in London on two occasions and was involved in bringing Apimondia, the international bee conference, to Dublin in 2005.
A stalwart of the Dromore Beekeepers Association and three-times president of the Ulster Beekeepers Association, his contribution was recognised with the award of an MBE.
Outgoing and sociable, he greatly valued family life and encouraged his children and grandchildren in all that they did. He was was recently delighted to become a great-grandfather to Arthur and his family brought him great joy.
James Norman Culbert Walsh died suddenly on Sunday at his home in Hillsborough. He was 83.
He is survived by his wife Rosemary, children Gilbert, Fiona and Roxy and family circle.